Burning Arizona

So today was the last significant ride before Old Pueblo.  The 4 peaks road was just the ticket, a 4.5 hour out and back over the Mazatzal mountain range.  It may be February, but it hasn't rained in these parts for something like 116 days now.  It is DRY.  Arizona is already on fire.  From the high point of the ride looking NE you can see the smoke from a big fire on the Mogollon Rim.

It's about a 4,000' drop to the valley below, the turnaround point.  The climb back up El Oso road averages a little over 8% grade, but given that there are a few descents in there, most of the climbing is a lot steeper than that.  The legs were wide awake today, that climb was FUN!

Then coming down the other side, yet another fire had sprung up.  There's a spot in the sky section of that image, no it isn't where you sneezed on your screen, its a plane doing some fire recon.

Most of this ride is through old burn areas...if ma nature doesn't throw some moisture this way soon whatever hasn't burned yet will.  Even so, I hope the weather holds off for another week...it can start raining after about, oh, 2pm next Sunday.  That's my request ;)

Now begins the hard part, taking it easy to be well rested next weekend.  Dunno about others, but the week before 24s just kills me.  I breathe a sigh of relief once the race starts.

It's hard to put into words how much I am looking forward to 24 hours of unrestrained effort.  It's a beautiful thing, a pivotal time in a manic cyclists life.